This month, the clothing brand Stella McCartney will be launching a parka made from Econyl — a regenerated nylon created from discarded fishing nets and other plastic waste — that is 100 percent recycled and recyclable.
“The parka fully closes the loop,” the English fashion designer told Vogue. “It’s taking 100 percent waste and then [when you’re finished with it] you can either bring it back to a Stella McCartney store or you can use the QR code on there and post it, and we can then recycle it back into fiber and make it into another garment.”
This development is not McCartney’s first effort towards sustainable fashion. In 2019, her brand partnered with Adidas to launch a small batch of hoodies made from NuCyl — another fully recyclable material. The Econyl parka will be the brand’s first fully recyclable garment that is commercially available.
McCartney, a long-time advocate for sustainability in the fashion industry, has a track record of teaming up with brands that create zero-waste materials. For example, she partnered with the company Bolt Threads on its Mylo “un-leather” made from mushroom roots, as well as the company Vegea on its “wine leather” made from grape waste.
“I don’t want to kill animals,” she told Vogue. “I don’t want to kill the planet. I’m deeply invested in trying to be a good citizen of Mother Earth and a businesswoman and a fashion designer.”
McCartney stood among a number of designers in backing The Fashion Act in New York. If passed, the bill would require any fashion brand that does business in New York with an annual global revenue of over $100 million to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and chemical management, as well as energy, water and plastic usage.
In her interview with Vogue, McCartney didn’t shy away from criticizing the fashion industry for “greenwashing,” a practice in which companies use marketing to create an image of being environmentally conscious without making any notable eco-friendly efforts. She claimed the industry is “very good at PR” and “very good at making things seem other than they really are.”
McCartney’s efforts have proven that she puts her money where her mouth is. She recently helped to set up Collab SOS, a $200 million fund that invests in projects such as Natural Fiber Welding, which created a plastic-free leather alternative called Mirum, and Protein Evolution, which developed a process allowing plastic waste to be infinitely recycled.
McCartney has publicly urged other large fashion companies to invest in zero-waste materials, saying she hopes they will be responsible to make the large-scale changes necessary to create a cleaner industry.
“It’s the most fashionable thing you can do if you’re working in the world of fashion right now.”